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Canadian MPs criticize Facebook's Zuckerberg for U.K. parliament no-show

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NDP Leadership Debate 20170910

Facebook comes under fire from lawmakers from several countries — including Canada — who accuse the firm of undermining democratic institutions. CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes the brunt of it.

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dnorman
16 days ago
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Delete Your Facebook Account: Nov. 27, 2018 Edition. "We've never seen anything quite like Facebook, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our democratic institutions … seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California,"
Calgary
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The World Is a Very Dangerous Place!

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America First!

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

- - -

Source: WhiteHouse.gov
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dnorman
22 days ago
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We've reached peak satire. McSweeney's published a White House statement, completely unaltered, and it reads like outlandish satire. I want off this ride.
Calgary
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Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT

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We are watching Facebook unravel in real time. I hope.

From the New York Times, a story I can hardly believe -- had to read some grafs twice:


Excerpt:

When Facebook users learned last spring that the company had compromised their privacy in its rush to expand, allowing access to the personal information of tens of millions of people to a political data firm linked to President Trump, Facebook sought to deflect blame and mask the extent of the problem.

And when that failed — as the company’s stock price plummeted and sparked a consumer backlash — Facebook went on the attack.

While Mr. Zuckerberg conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

You're gonna want to read the whole thing.

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dnorman
28 days ago
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Delete Your Facebook Account: 2018-11-14 Edition
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A human being at Facebook manually approved the idea of targeting ads to users interested in "white genocide"

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A year ago, Facebook apologized for allowing advertisers to target its users based on their status as "Jew haters" and blamed an algorithmic system that automatically picked up on the most popular discussions on the platform and turned them into ad-targeting segments.

At the time, Facebook promised that they would put humans in the loop, creating human-AI centaurs that would subject the AI's lightning-speed assessments and vast capacity to read and analyze the conversations of billions of people to oversight by sensitive, sensible human beings who would not allow outright fascism and fascist-adjacent categories to surface as ad categories to be targeted for recruitment by violent extremists.

They kept their promise: now humans have to sign off on every ad category that Facebook generates. So when the ad category AI looked at the myriad of Facebook groups devoted to "white genocide" (the conspiracy theory that holds that non-white people are "outbreeding" white people, through a mix of unchecked fertility and "interbreeding") -- such as "Stop White South African Genocide," "White Genocide Watch" and "The last days of the white man"-- it automatically created the "white genocide" ad targeting niche.

And then a human Facebook worker approved this category and made it available for use by anyone with an ad purchasing account on the platform.

What's more, Facebook's algorithm was smart enough to suggest some related keywords that someone who wants to reach "white genocide" fans could use: "RedState," "Daily Caller," and a thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory about the plight of white South African farmers that was greatly favored by Robert Bowers, the man who opened fire in Pittsburgh a synagogue last week.

After The Intercept bought some ads targeted at "white genocide" users, Facebook finally suspended the category, confirming that "marketers" had used the category to target the group with "news coverage," and also that a human being had signed off on the category's creation to begin with.

There are lots of conclusions to draw from this. Here are a few:

1. Facebook is undertraining and underresourcing the human people who are supposed to serve as "guard-rails" on the algorithmic creation of ad categories. They need to spend more money on this. Possibly a lot more.

2. Facebook's affinity-tracing algorithm is smart enough to identify the places where fascists and white supremacists lurk on its platform: the fact that it knew that Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller was also a haven for white supremacy tells us that Facebook could, if it wanted to, closely target the human beings whose job it is to monitor discussions for terms-of-service violations.

Facebook draws a distinction between the hate-based categories ProPublica discovered, which were based on terms users entered into their own profiles, versus the “white genocide conspiracy theory” category, which Facebook itself created via algorithm. The company says that it’s taken steps to make sure the former is no longer possible, although this clearly did nothing to deter the latter. Interestingly, Facebook said that technically the white genocide ad buy didn’t violate its ad policies, because it was based on a category Facebook itself created. However, this doesn’t square with the automated email The Intercept received a day after the ad buy was approved, informing us that “We have reviewed some of your ads more closely and have determined they don’t comply with our Advertising Policies.”

Still, the company conceded that such ad buys should have never been possible in the first place. Vice News and Business Insider also bought Facebook ads this week to make a different point about a related problem: that Facebook does not properly verify the identities of people who take out political ads. It’s unclear whether the “guardrails” Leathern spoke of a year ago will simply take more time to construct, or whether Facebook’s heavy reliance on algorithmic judgment simply careened through them.

Facebook Allowed Advertisers to Target Users Interested in “White Genocide” — Even in Wake of Pittsburgh Massacre [Sam Biddle/The Intercept]

(via /.)

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dnorman
40 days ago
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Delete Your Facebook Account: November 3 2018 Edition.
Calgary
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60% of world's wildlife has been wiped out since 1970

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Yellow-throated tanager

Well over half the world’s population of vertebrates, from fish to birds to mammals, have been wiped out in the past four decades, says a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.

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dnorman
44 days ago
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This is fine.
Calgary
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Calgary priest put on leave amid sexual misconduct allegations

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St. Mark

A Catholic priest in Calgary has been placed on leave following allegations of sexual misconduct.

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dnorman
45 days ago
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that's a funny way to spell "was arrested." Odds on him being moved to another church in a small town somewhere so it's forgotten?
Calgary
dreadhead
43 days ago
Just on a brief vacation nothing serious.
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